What is a terrorist?

Poetry analyzing the meaning of what it means to be a terrorist

French philosopher who specializes in postmodernism philosophy.

French philosopher who specializes in postmodernism philosophy.

The reality of terrorism is we are ontologically set to think that a terrorist is the enemy of all. While this ontological standpoint is one that is neither true nor false, the complexity of these worlds is one that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. What if the terrorist is not what we have been taught to think it is? This supposed war on terror is really a war against something else. The history of terrorism is one that is deep and vague with what qualifies for an act of terrorism and what terrorism even is. The state defines it as someone who is politically opposed to us and willingly fights against us on the disagreement of how the world runs.

Are we terrorists? Questioning may be the first step to rethinking how we view those who are against us. The middle east is not necessarily our enemy filled with extremists. There was a time if all students of the United States will remember that we were also a group of extremists. The foundation of America is one built on extremism; the Boston Tea Party was considered an act of terror. Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher, questions in The Spirit of Terrorism, the spectacle that terrorism brings. Baudrillard’s thesis talks about how the American population specifically has an unwarranted fear of terrorism and the “terrorist”.  My literary analysis of the perception we have of the terrorist is one based loosely on that work and one that is largely opinionated but maybe, just maybe, it will open some minds up. I would love to have discussions with everyone in the comments about this piece of work and more over the thoughts that fueled it.

Ode to a terrorist

How can I hate that which I do not know?

I have never lived in a world that is not my own.

My privilege has warped my view of you because of what I was told.

History tells me you are evil.

But then against history’s lips often lie.

To take a step back is never enough,

When we are constantly at odds it will always be tough.

What are you, terrorist?

A soldier, a villain, a hero, a rebel, the other, the killer, the savior,

Misnomers of perception skewed by ideological borders.

I promote the spectacle but not the action

So I write an ode to you “terrorist”,

For you are simply the unknown.



Please add a comment to engage in a dialogue around the idea of terrorism and terrorists.